Right now, and continuing into next year, leather is all over the runways and stores. And why not? It’s sensuous; it’s edgy, and it’s fun. And once you get used to it, it is surprisingly easy and rewarding to work with (see My Post on Working With Leather/HotPatterns Homage Tote for some hints and how-tos).
My travels take me to New York on a pretty regular basis, and I have three favorite sources there for leather. When I need a skin for a project, my first stop is Leather Suede Skins. Lambskin, cowhides, exotics, embossed, printed, and furs of various sorts are arrayed in an almost dizzying manner. The store is small, and the owners are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful. Alla (one of the owners) is particularly great to work with. If you can’t get to the store in person, you can order color cards from them, which give you a great idea of their inventory. They also have a small but impressive selection of leather straps, trims and braids. If you only have time for one leather store on a trip to New York, this is the one I would send you to.
Leather Suede Skins
261 West 35th St. 11th Floor
New York, NY 10001
My other fave-rave in the Garment District is Leather Impact. This ground-level storefront is cavernous in size, with a great assortment of all types of skins, including full hides hanging up on one wall. They have one of the larger selections of metallic skins (so hot right now) that I have seen. They also have the best selection of strapping, both beveled/stitched and plain, that I have seen anywhere. I bought some great leather strapping for handbags in several colors here.
256 West 38th St. Ground Level
New York, NY 10018
Another very good leather store is Global Leathers. I have to admit, this is the one I use the least, but not for any bad reasons: I just seem to find what I need at the other two. But they have an enormous assortment of all types of leathers, from garment weight to upholstery weight. The store is large and packed, one might say cramped. The selection is excellent.
253 West 35th St. 9th Floor
New York, NY 10001
One thing to note is that these stores are open Monday-Friday 9-5. (Global may be open Saturday).
Several other fabric stores in the Garment District carry leather skins as well. Mood and B&J are just two examples. But these three stores specialize in leather of all types, and can get you what you need to make your leather project perfection!